lie in wait

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lie in wait

To be waiting in a concealed position (for someone or something), especially in order to surprise. When I'm walking alone at night, I'm always worried that attackers are just lying in wait in the shadows. Agents for the anti-money sector have lain in wait for months to see if the corporation would fall for their new sting operation.
See also: lie, wait
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

lie in wait (for someone or something)

Fig. to stay still and hidden, waiting for someone or something. Bob was lying in wait for Anne so he could scold her about something. The assassin lay in wait for his target to approach.
See also: lie, wait
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

lie in wait

Remain hidden while preparing to attack, as in The opposition was quietly lying in wait for the incumbent to make his first big mistake. This expression originally alluded to physical attacks and is now often used figuratively. [Mid-1400s] Also see lay for.
See also: lie, wait
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

lie in ˈwait

hide and wait for somebody so that you can attack them: The police think the murderer must have been lying in wait for his victim.
See also: lie, wait
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

lie in wait (for), to

To ambush, to prepare to attack from a hiding place. This cliché, which dates from the fifteenth century, originally alluded to a physical attack. It was soon being used metaphorically, as by Jonathan Swift in A Tale of a Tub (1704): “A ring of disciples, who lie in wait to catch their droppings.”
See also: lie, to, wait
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Churchgoers were lying in wait, following a spate of break-ins.